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Main article: Somali clan
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Somali and Arabic
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Issa, Surre, Isaaq and other Dir groups and Somali clans.

The Gadabuursi (Somali: Gadaabuursi, Arabic: غادابوورسي‎), also known as Samaroon, is a northern Somali clan. It is a sub-division of the Dir.


Most Gadabuursi members are descendants of Sheikh Samaroon. However, Samaroon does not necessarily mean Gadabuursi, but rather represents only a sub-clan of the Gadabuursi clan family.

As a Dir sub-clan, the Gadabuursi have immediate lineal ties with the Issa of Djibouti, the Surre (Abdalle and Qubeys) of central/southern Somalia, the Biyomaal of southern Somalia, the Gaadsan subclan of Biimal in Ethiopia and Kenya and the Gurgure .

In terms of subsistence patterns, the Gadabuursi are mainly sedentary agro-pastoralists, supplementing their cattle herding with cereal cultivation.[1]

Politically, the Gadabuursi are represented by the Somali Democratic Alliance (SDA).[2] The former president of the northwestern Somaliland region of Somalia, Dahir Rayale Kahin, also hails from the Gadabuursi clan.


The Gadabuursi are concentrated in northwestern Somalia and are the pre-dominant clan of the Awdal region.[3][4]

The Gadabuursi are also found in Djibouti and the Somali Region in Ethiopia, where they almost exclusively inhabit both the Awbere district in the Jijiga Zone and the Dembel district in the Shinile Zone.[5][6][7]

They also reside along the northeastern fringe of the chartered city state of Dire Dawa, which borders the Dembel district.[8] The 2007 Summary and Statistical report of the Population and Housing Census of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia has shown that Awbere is the most populated district in the region.[9]

The Gadabuursi of Ethiopia have expressed a desire to combine the clan's traditional territories of Awbere and Dembel to form a new region-state called Harawo State.[10]


The Gadabursi Kingdom was established more than 600 years ago, and consisted of many elders and a King (Ugaas). Hundreds of elders used to work in four sections consisting of 25 elders each:

  • Social committee
  • Defence - policing authorities consisting of horsemen (referred to as fardoolay) and foot soldiers
  • Economy and collection of taxes
  • Justice committee

The chairmen of the four sections were called Afarta Dhadhaar, and were selected according to talent and personnel abilities. A constitution, Xeer Gadabursi, had been developed, which divided every case as to whether it was new or had precedents (ugub or curad).

The Gadabursi King and the elders opposed the arrival of the British at the turn of the twentieth century, and subsequently signed an agreement with the latter. Later, as a disagreement between the two parties both arose and intensified, the British installed some people against the Ugaas in hopes of overthrowing him. This would eventually bring about the collapse of the kingdom.

Clan tree[edit]

There is no clear agreement on the clan and sub-clan structures and many lineages are omitted. The following listing is taken from the World Bank's Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics from 2005 and the United Kingdom's Home Office publication, Somalia Assessment 2001.[11][12]

  • Dir
    • Gadabuursi (Gadabursi)
    • Biimaal (or Bimal)
    • Issa

In the south central part of Somalia the World Bank shows the following clan tree:[13]

  • Dir
    • Isaac
      • Garhajis
  • Gadabursi
    • Isse
    • Biyomal
    • Gadsan
    • Qubeys

Notable figures[edit]


  1. ^ Encyclopaedia Aethiopica: D-Ha, [1], pp. 639 April 2011
  2. ^ Somalia Assessment 2001, p. 5
  3. ^ "Somaliland: The Myth of Clan-Based Statehood". Somalia Watch. 2002-12-07. Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  4. ^ Battera, Federico (2005). "Chapter 9: The Collapse of the State and the Resurgence of Customary Law in Northern Somalia". Shattering Tradition: Custom, Law and the Individual in the Muslim Mediterranean. Walter Dostal, Wolfgang Kraus (ed.). London: I.B. Taurus. p. 296. ISBN 1-85043-634-7. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  5. ^ "Shinile Agropastoral Livelihood Zone" (PDF). Save the Children. 2001. p. 8. Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  6. ^ "IL-DUUFKA WEYN EE LALA BEEGSADAY DAD-WEYNAHA GOBOLKA HARAWO". (in Somali). Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  7. ^ "United Nations Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia, Field Trip to Jijiga (22-29 April, 1994)" (PDF). p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 December 2010. Retrieved 04-03-2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  8. ^ [2] United Nations Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia, Field Trip to Jijiga (22–29 April 1994), p. 2 (accessed 3 April 2011)
  9. ^ Ethiopia Population Census Statistics, [3], p.72 November 2007,
  10. ^ Harawo State Petition, [4], March 2011
  11. ^ Worldbank, Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics, January 2005, Appendix 2, Lineage Charts, p.55 Figure A-1
  12. ^ Country Information and Policy Unit, Home Office, Great Britain, Somalia Assessment 2001, Annex B: Somali Clan Structure, p. 43
  13. ^ Worldbank, Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics, January 2005, Appendix 2, Lineage Charts, p.56 Figure A-2